Nurse, VP of Operations

Vanura HomeHealth Services

Starting her home health business at the age of 28 in 2001, Amabel De Leon has grown Venura HomeHealth Services to 350 employees and more than $10 million in revenue. With the mission to empower others to assist in healthcare efforts, Vanura HomeHealth has opened up a consulting practice to help other companies develop and execute good business models around nursing, and has also developed an app to support patients through every step of their journey.


Founder, Chairman and CEO

Clipper Corporation

Lina Hu has grown Clipper Corporation significantly over the past 25 years, expanding the business into several divisions including a Uniform, Foodservice Supplies and Licensed Brand Division for Viking Cookware. Under Hu’s stewardship as Founder, Chairman and CEO, some of Clipper Corporation’s customers include Burger King, Darden Restaurants, Hobby Lobby and Pizza Hut.



KMNelson Design

A fervent believer in doing business with integrity, Kristi M. Nelson, Principal of KMNelson Design works with companies and organizations focused on securing clean supply chains, paying fair wages, teaching trade skills and eliminating child slavery and bonded labor. Importantly, Nelson has also been actively involved with GoodWeave, a Washington DC-based global NGO dedicated to eliminating child labor in the hand-made rug industry via a market-driven model and licensing program.


CEO and Founder

Halton Pardee + Partners

Tami Pardee founded Halton Pardee + Partners, a Venice-based concierge brokerage specializing in high-end luxury residential and commercial real estate in 2004. Under Pardee’s leadership, the firm has sold over $3.8 billion worth of real estate and grown to three offices across California. Committed to giving back, Halton Pardee + Partners has donated over $1.3 million in the past 14 years toward uplifting underserved areas of Venice and West Los Angeles.

CEO OF THE YEAR - Finalists




Anousheh Ansari is an astronaut, serial tech entrepreneur, and active proponent of world-changing technologies. For years, she has been a spokesperson, board member, advocate, sponsor, and ultimately earned the role of CEO of XPRIZE in October 2018. Prior to this, Ansari served as the CEO of Prodea Systems, a leading Internet of Things (IoT) technology firm she co-founded in 2006, for which she continues to serve as executive chairwoman.



Los Angeles County Business Federation

Tracy Hernandez is the founding CEO of BizFed, a nonprofit alliance of 180 top business networks which works to advocate for positive public policy, legislation, manageable regulations, taxes and fees, and to foster business owner civic and community engagement. Hernandez also oversees the BizFed Institute (a 501 c3), the educational, information, research, polling, and convening arm of BizFed. To round out her many aspects of impact, she also founded the BizFed Political Action Committee (PAC), which seeks to elect public officials with job creating focus and ability.



Jamison Realty

In addition to her role as CEO of Jamison Realty, Jaime Lee was elected President of the Board of Harbor Commissioners for the Port of Los Angeles in April 2018. She has held leadership roles at the Los Angeles City Employees’ Retirement System Board of Administration, the Industrial Development Authority, and the Quality and Productivity Commission. She also currently serves on the California Film Commission.




O’Melveny & Myers LLP

Apalla Chopra is a Partner and Chair of O’Melveny & Myers’ Labor and Employment Practice. She is also a member of the firm’s Policy Committee. She also conducts independent investigations into high profile allegations of employee misconduct on behalf of companies, boards and special committees. Additionally, Chopra is among a handful of lawyers that colleges and universities turn to for their most complex and high profile legal challenges


Founder & Chairman

Avante Capital Partners

Jeri Harman, Founder and Chairman of Avante Capital Partners, has more than 30 years of financing and M&A experience. Prior to Avante, Harman founded and led the Los Angeles offices for two multi-billion-dollar publicly traded private equity and mezzanine investment fund companies. Her recently re-christened Avante Capital Partners was named “Small Business Investment Company of the Year” in 2018 by the Small Business Administration, as well as “Women-Owned Firm of the Year” for 2018 by the Private Equity Women Investor Network.



Ogletree Deakins

Leslie Helmer, a Shareholder at Ogletree Deakins, counsels business executives on labor and employment matters from discrimination and harassment, terminations and layoffs, wage and hour policies, employee handbooks, family and medical leaves of absence, and disability accommodation issues. Helmer also conducts investigations and trainings for clients and has extensive experience in litigation and personnel management issues.


Vice President of Business Operations, Strategy & Emerging Technology

DreamWorks Animation

As Vice President of Business Operations, Strategy and Emerging Technology for DreamWorks Animation, Christina Lee Storm manages and works on studio talent resource strategy, planning, scheduling, and casting of diverse creative and technical departments. She is a part of the studio’s executive leadership team that focuses on studio-wide technology initiatives. She also previously helped lead the Production Strategy Team for the studio.



Vice President of Diversity & Inclusion

Flatiron Construction

With only 10% of the industry consisting of women, Dr. Giovanna Brasfield has been elevated to serve as the Senior Supplier Diversity and Community Inclusion Officer for Flatiron Construction. She assists the District and Division Manager in meeting contractual requirements on current projects and upcoming project pursuits that engage women and diverse businesses. Dr. Brasfield is a true advocate and community leader who is passionate about inclusion of others within construction or construction-related trades.




In addition to being a leader of CohnReznick’s Hospitality, Not-for-Profit and Education Industry Practices, Georgina Harris has significant experience working with a variety of religious and cultural organizations, associations, foundations, social service and charitable agencies, and educational institutions. She is passionate about advancing women in the accounting profession at CohnReznick and in the broader community. She has successfully run three forums and raised more than $3,000 to be donated to local female focused not-for-profit organizations.


Investment Advisor

Miracle Mile Advisors

Over the past seven years, Sara Rajo-Miller has built one of the largest investment advisor practices at Miracle Mile Advisors. Rajo-Miller has established herself as an industry leader by regularly hosting networking events and educational seminars, and she often volunteers to speak to promote financial literacy. She is passionate about giving back to the community, and has served as a mentor for Big Brothers Big Sisters of Greater Los Angeles for the past four years.


Vice President

The Sage Group

In addition to serving as an integral member of The Sage Group’s team since 2014, Olivia Theroux has also had a vital role in maintaining the company’s collaborative culture, mentoring junior staff and leading the firm’s full-time and summer training program. Theroux is also passionate about giving back to the community and serves as a Mentor for AMBITION, a non-profit entrepreneurial program for underserved youth in Los Angeles.




Vera Guerin is a past chairwoman of the Cedars-Sinai Health System board of directors. She has made a tremendous impact as a philanthropist, donating millions of dollars to help fund the state-of-the-art and life-saving programs of Cedars-Sinai. For example, she donated $5 million in 2007 to the Cedars-Sinai Women’s Guild Lung Institute and $10 million in 2013 to establish the Vera and Paul Guerin Family Congenital Heart Program at Cedars-Sinai. She donated $10 million to endow two academic chairs in pulmonary medicine and pediatric neurosurgery and to support Cedars-Sinai’s Advanced Health Sciences Pavilion in 2013.


Actress, Comedian and Entertainer

Popular comedian Aida Rodriguez believes in inspiring others locally while thinking about things on a bigger, global scale. Maximizing the public platform that comedy affords her, Rodriguez has been actively involved in helping to raise more than $250,000 nationally for M.O.V.E., a foster care program that provides financial resources for foster kids prior to them turning 18 years old and terming out of the foster care system. She also has actively raised funds and continues to do so for Lets.Give, a nonprofit that empowers young people (primarily high school and college students) to maintain a movement of love, compassion and support.



Project Manager

PCL Construction

In addition to being a motivated and ambitious project manager who has been a driving force behind some of the city’s most notable construction projects, Karen Choi discovered quite some time ago that she could be a builder and a mentor at the same time. She made it her goal to join the ACE Mentor program’s Los Angeles chapter and became a mentor to students who, like herself, are passionate about careers in architecture, construction and engineering. Additionally, she commits her time to volunteering for DIY Girls and United Way Greater Los Angeles.



Wood Smith Henning & Berman, LLP

An accomplished trial lawyer and partner at Wood Smith Henning & Berman, LLP, Constance Endelicato focuses her practice on defending healthcare providers. She brings a passion for justice to her day job that is matched by her efforts in support of the global community. Just last year, outside of the legal field, Endelicato took several weeks off to volunteer with One Heart Worldwide, where she traveled to Nepal to volunteer at the birthing centers that were built by the organization.


Attorney, Certified Family Law Specialist

Debra S. Frank, APLC

Certified Family Law Specialist Debra Frank is a respected Los Angeles-based family law attorney and founder of Debra S. Frank, APLC. Frank has a long history of donating her time and energy to the family law community. Not only does she serve as a speaker, moderator and organizer for numerous programs, but since 1986 she has also served as a volunteer Daily Settlement Officer for the Los Angeles Superior Court, and the Los Angeles County Bar Association Family Law Section at the Superior Court of California, Downtown Mosk Courthouse.


Founder and President

STEM Advantage

In 2012, Lee Ann Kline founded STEM Advantage in an effort to mentor, prepare and inspire women and underserved communities to pursue careers in science, technology, engineering and math through a 360-degree program. STEM Advantage has grown from 12 students in its initial cohort to 125 scholars in the 2019 cohort. The program yields impressive results, with 100% of its graduates having completed their degrees and obtained full-time employment in STEM-related careers, post-graduation.

Return to Index

For reprint and licensing requests for this article, CLICK HERE.